Coquelicot

Coquelicot Tasting Room - Los Olivos

Coquelicot Tasting Room - Los Olivos


 

Los Olivos is littered with tasting rooms. This is a good thing. But how do you choose? Well as usual, we’ll judge by what’s in the bottle rather than how many people are piling into the room.

Coquelicot is a winery that’s putting out excellent wines in a nice range of styles, and they’re not afraid to be a bit different from the rest. With several of their wines coming from their organically farmed estate vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, and what feels like a light hand in the winemaking process from winemaker Louis Van Tonder, this is one place where you’ll be sure to find some balanced, pretty wines.

Our recent tasting included their 2007 Estate Riesling ($22), which is one of the few Rieslings we’ve found that actually exhibits the famed petroleum nose that’s reminiscent of some fine German Rieslings. Thankfully, that nose doesn’t carry into the flavor of the wine, as it exhibited a slightly sweet, robust mouth feel, but was balanced with enough acidity and clean fruit flavors of peach and melon to avoid any heaviness. A nice clean finish made this a very enjoyable wine.

While Coquelicot certainly isn’t the only winery making a stainless steel fermented Chardonnay, it’s nice to see more wine makers embracing this lean style of what is typically a buttery, oaky wine. This approach provides a purity of taste that really brings out the flavor of the Chardonnay grape, and might make you wonder why it’s so often masked behind heavy treatments of oak and malolactic fermentation. While the 2006 Stainless Chardonnay ($14) from Coquelicot bore that nice clean fruit that we love about this style, this wine seemed to lack the acidity that really makes this style sing. This isn’t the best stainless Chard we’ve tried, but at $14, it’s definitely a great selection for everyday drinking.

Other wines we enjoyed include the 2007 Estate Syrah ($45), which takes dead center aim at what we would call the classic Santa Barbara County Syrah – big plum and ripe cherry fruit, bold but balanced earth and leather tannin, big structure and long finish. This is not a finely tuned Côte Rôtie, but we love this style of bold and beautiful Syrah nonetheless. The flagship Coquelicot wine, their 2007 Mon Amour Bordeaux Blend ($45) was another very nicely balanced wine that brought rich fruit of blackberry and fig together with tight tannins and a woody, minty note and a beautiful dry finish.

While not every wine here is a home run, these guys do an honest job of tackling some challenging wines and manage to pull it off with grace and style. Coquelicot is one of the standouts in the crowded Los Olivos tasting room scene, and definitely worth a stop.

Coquelicot

2884 Grand Ave., Los Olivos CA 93441

map

Open Sun-Fri 11 to 5, Sat 10 to 6

805-688-1500

coquelicotwines.com